Side effects are possible after receiving the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines currently in use in the United States, but how do the potential symptoms differ between the three vaccines?
Testing side effects is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is a sign that your body is reacting.
“The good news from us is that a quick response equals an effective response,” Dr. Mark Loafman, chairman of family and community medicine at Cook County Health in Illinois, told NBC 5. “This tells us that the vaccine works. . Our body forms a strong immune response and we feel this is positive. So we tend to see vaccines that are more effective have more of the so-called side effects or symptoms because they work so well. “
Does one vaccine report more side effects than others?
According to Pfizer, about 3.8% of participants in their clinical trial experienced fatigue as a side effect, and 2% had headaches.
Modern says 9.7% of their participants felt tired and 4.5% had headaches.
Like Pfizer and Moderna̵
But Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arvadi said participants in the Johnson & Johnson study reported fewer side effects.
“One thing I recommended is if there are people who are very, very worried about side effects, you know, Johnson & Johnson in the studies had a little less side effects,” she said. “And that’s, you know, that single dose, you know, it could be one thing out there.”
In addition, with two-shot vaccines, people are also more likely to report side effects after their second dose, Arvadi said, echoing reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, the side effects after your second shot “may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot.”
“These side effects are normal signs that your body is building defenses and should disappear within a few days,” the CDC said.
In trials of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, more people experienced side effects after the second dose.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your second shot if you get side effects after the first, experts say.
“When people get this second dose, they get the second booster to try to get the most out of it,” said Dr. Eduard Kachai, an infectious disease specialist at UCSD.
The CDC also noted that both shots were needed.
“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines need 2 shots to get maximum protection,” the CDC said. “You should get the second shot, even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless your vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to.”
There are also some factors that can cause you to experience side effects.
Chicago’s top doctor said Thursday that younger people are more likely to experience side effects, “because younger people have a healthier immune system in general.”
And according to Loafman, the body’s immune system is what creates the symptoms.
“It’s just a reflection of the immune response, just like we have when we get sick,” he said.
Arwady also noted that women are more likely to report side effects than men.
“Part of that is because women can just be better reporters … but there’s probably something real about that, because something else that’s interesting to those who may not know so much about immunity is autoimmune diseases. ? too, “said Arvadi.” And even more serious ones like allergic reactions, more serious allergic reactions? More likely in women. ”
Arvadi said estrogen can boost immune responses, while testosterone can lower it. At the same time, she noted that “many of your immunomodulatory genes” can live on the “x” chromosome, of which women have two, while men have one.
“So there are all these reasons why immunity in general rises a little differently in women than in men,” she said. “And so we see women a little more likely to report some of the side effects.”
CDC data also report that women are more likely to experience side effects than men, according to observations from the first month of vaccinations.
From December 14 to January 13, more than 79 percent of side effects were reported by women, the data show. Meanwhile, women received approximately 61.2% of the doses administered at the same time.
Side effects can also vary depending on whether you have had a coronavirus or not.
“We’ve seen people more likely to report some side effects because it acts a bit like a booster dose for your immune system,” Arvadi said. “Your immune system has already learned some of these lessons on how to protect yourself, not so much as a protective way.”
“It’s probably this booster effect, too,” Arvadi said.
“If you just had COVID or you already have some immunity, it’s more of a booster,” he said. “And boosters for some people are completely asymptomatic, boosters for other people trigger their immune response against it, so they have some kind of inflammation with it.”
But not getting side effects is not negative, say health experts.
“If you don’t get side effects, that doesn’t mean you’re not protected,” Arvadi said. “I want to be really clear about that.”
According to Loafman, this simply means “your body has not reacted with such an inflammatory reaction.
“You’re still making antibodies,” he said.
According to Loafman, each person’s answer is unique.
“It’s actually just a reflection of how unique each of our systems is, what other immunities we have,” he said. “You know, a lot of antibodies cross-react and we have cross-reactivity, so it’s really a jigsaw puzzle. Each of our immune systems is a jigsaw puzzle made up of everything we’ve experienced and everything we have and everything we’ve recently been our individual. reaction varies. Everyone gets an appropriate immune response. “
What are the possible side effects?
The CDC reports that the most common side effects with the three vaccines allowed are at the injection site. They include:
Common side effects in the body include:
- Muscle pain
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to stay for 15 minutes after vaccination and those with a history of other allergies for 30 minutes so that they can be monitored and treated immediately if they have a reaction.
What can you do if you have side effects?
The CDC recommends that people talk to their doctors about taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines for any pain and discomfort after vaccination.
“You can take these medicines to relieve side effects after vaccination if you have no other medical reasons to prevent you from taking these medicines normally,” the CDC said. “It is not recommended that you take these medicines before vaccination in order to try to prevent side effects.”
The CDC recommends that you seek medical attention if you have any of the following:
- If the redness or tenderness where you received the shot worsens after 24 hours
- If your side effects bother you or don’t seem to go away after a few days
- If you receive the COVID-19 vaccine and think you may have a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek medical advice immediately by calling 911.